Qualifying for the Austrian Grand Prix has thrown up some huge results, with Australian F1 star Daniel Ricciardo qualifying in 10th after getting stuck behind pole sitter Valtteri Bottas.
While starting from the fifth row of the grid wasn’t as bad as Sebastian Vettel, who missed Q3 in 11th, it was a frustrating finish as Ricciardo waited until the end of the session to produce a flying lap and try to push up the grid.
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Ricciardo had impressed with his speed throughout practice and told F1.com after the first day that “We were fast” raising hopes the Aussie was in for a huge start to the condensed season.
After finishing ahead of both Ferrari’s in Q2 with Vettel missing Q3 and Charles Leclerc just scraping in in 10th, Ricciardo was hoping to lay it all on the line.
But it was a dramatic end to the session with Ricciardo stuck behind pole sitter Valtteri Bottas on the final run with the Fin going off the track cleanly going through the gravel and into the grass.
“I don’t know why there was a yellow,” Ricciardo said on team radio. “There was a yellow two corners for nothing.”
It was explained to him but Ricciardo responded: “But he stayed off the track, that’s ********”.
Bottas was the ultimate pole sitter ahead of Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton and Red Bull’s Max Verstappen.
After qualifying, Ricciardo told Sky Sports “I may have got a bit carried away” with the expletives over team radio.
“I saw a bit of dust but I just thought he dropped a wheel,” Ricciardo said. ”I saw yellow flags and flashing lights so I thought they overreacted to him dropping a wheel but apparently he went right off, I didn‘t see that. If that’s the case, unlucky Daniel.”
Ricciardo has been on fire across the weekend so far but was hoping for more in qualifying.
“It‘s been fun, obviously we’ve missed it for so long, and I did not let myself switch off through all this lockdown, he said. ”After Melbourne I stayed focused and trained and I relaxed a little bit but mentally stayed on and ready to be here for this day.”
Over the big issue of the day was Vettel and Ferrari’s shockingly poor performance.
While the four-time world champion finished outside Q3 for the first time for a performance-related issue since joining Ferrari in 2015.
Vettel, who is set to be replaced by Carlos Sainz next year and is without a drive in the F1 as yet, said he was surprised by how poorly he had gone.
“I thought that we had a little bit more in hand but it looks like the others were probably running a little bit more fuel or more conservative in practice,” he said after he was eliminated.
“I wasn‘t quite happy with the car … more oversteer on entry than I would like, but we’ll see. I think tomorrow is a different picture. Maybe with the track getting a bit hotter, it was a bit more costly for us today.”
It was a poor day for Ferrari all around with Leclerc finishing seventh overall.
Fans were quick to pan Ferrari’s poor performance, especially after an investigation into accusations the team cheated in 2019.
Ferrari have an upgrade coming at the Hungarian Grand Prix but will have two races in Austria to contend with before the new package comes in.
Ultimately it was another Mercedes dominated day with Valtteri Bottas claiming the 12th pole of his career.
“I‘ve obviously been preparing for this for a long time and it feels so good. Our team have done an amazing job, we seem to be in our own league,” said Bottas, who also beat Hamilton to pole in Austria in 2017-2018.
“I‘m so impressed. It’s truly an amazing car to drive.”
AUSTRIAN GRAND PRIX QUALIFYING RESULTS
1. Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes
2. Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes
3. Max Verstappen, Red Bull
4. Lando Norris, McLaren
5. Alexander Albon, Red Bull
6. Sergio Perez, Racing Point
7. Charles Leclerc, Ferrari
8. Carlos Sainz, McLaren
9. Lance Stroll, Racing Point
10. Daniel Ricciardo, Renault
Out in Q2
11. Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari
12. Pierre Gasly, AlphaTauri
13. Daniil Kvyat, AlphaTauri
14. Esteban Ocon, Renault
15. Romain Grosjean, Haas
Out in Q1
16. Kevin Magnussen, Haas
17. George Russell, Williams
18. Antonio Giovinazzi, Alfa Romeo
19. Kimi Raikkonen, Alfa Romeo
20. Nicholas Latifi, Williams